King rules as Stow snatch draw

JEWSON SOCCER: All the latest from the Jewson League with a full round-up of the Premier Division and Division One action.

JEWSON LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION

Stowmarket Town 2 Norwich United 2

LAWRENCE King was the hero of the hour as Stowmarket battled back from two goals down to grab a point at rain-soaked Greens Meadow on Saturday.

King, a reserve team player who has only played the last three games for Mel Aldis' injury-hit side, has no doubt staked a permanent claim for his place after his double strike.

Trailing by two Greg Murphy strikes, Stowmarket woke up from their sluggish first-half display. And it was King who was on hand to head home from a free-kick and then volley home eight minutes from time, as the Suffolk side, who began the day third in the table, at least had something to show for their afternoon's efforts.

It was no more than they deserved. But a point looked a long way off when, in the 38th minute, Murphy flicked home a free-kick from Jamie Hunton over Stowmarket keeper Simon Nunn's head. And six minutes later the same player doubled the Norfolk side's lead with an even better goal, latching onto a Hunton through ball, turning and twisting before leaving the Stowmarket defence on the floor and shooting left-footed past Nunn.

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Territorially Norwich were not two goals better. But their determination to be first to the ball and not be as loose with their passing as their opponents, meant Stowmarket could have few complaints. Up front Hunton and Murphy caused all sorts of problems for the home side and the United defence coped easily with anything Stowmarket could throw at them.

The second half, however, was different. The home side were twice as fast to the ball, twice as competitive and much more urgent.

King's first strike, after 57 minutes – a powerful header from an Ollie Langham free-kick after Graeme Bryne was fouled – set the match up. And he grabbed his second, volleying powerfully home after good work by Stuart Jopling from a free-kick, with eight minutes left.

Norwich United gained the first corner after just five minutes as early play was scrappy and King shot over from a good position after Anthony Shipley fouled Bryne.

Stowmarket's first corner came in the 17th minute and Jopling challenged Norwich keeper Robert Woodcock, with appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Gary Ives.

The visitors were streets ahead in the corner count, but Stowmarket's defence, well marshalled by Darren Barnard was coping well. Murphy had a great chance after 22 minutes, running onto a Scott McIntosh flick and shooting wide. Woodcock punched clear a corner before Hunton zipped a cross in along the six-yard area, but Langham cleared. And Hunton was at it again, chipping the on-rushing Nunn, only for Langham to tidy up with little fuss.

Jopling was tackled as he was about to shoot and then King missed an excellent opportunity, rounding Woodcock in the Norwich goal, but delaying his shot as Adie Ager slid in to clear.

Murphy's two strikes just before the interval turned the game heavily in the Norfolk side's favour, but Stowmarket manager Aldis resisted any changes at half-time.

Adrian Whatling missed a good chance after 50 minutes, lobbing the ball over the United goal with Woodcock beaten, before King pulled a goal back seven minutes later.

Langham blazed over from a good dead-ball position after 70 minutes and King almost got in as Woodcock spilled a Langham cross.

Whatling had a penalty appeal turned down as it was now all Stowmarket and Woodcock saved well from Jopling, six yards out, who turned on a shot from Jon Oman that had deflected his way.

Whatling was becoming a real threat down the left but everyone missed his cross along the six-yard area. King had the final say, neatly tucking away the equaliser after 82 minutes and in fairness Stowmarket had showed character.

In the end both camps were relatively happy. But before the game the high-flying home side, who have never won the Jewson League, would have seen this tie as a home win. They must believe they are serious title contenders and begin games in a manner befitting that title if their bright start to the league campaign is to pay dividends.

Teams

Stowmarket Town: Nunn, Barker, King, Langham, Oman, D Barnard, Platt, Whatling, Jopling, Byrne (sub Supple 85) and R Aldis. Subs not used: Roberts, M Barnard and M Aldis.

Norwich United: Woodcock, Lawrence, Shipling, Ager, Cooper, Prior, Murphy, Nicholls, McIntosh, Hunton and Bugdale. Subs not used: Romano, Thorpe and Vargeson.

Referee: Gary Ives

Attendance: 60

Great Yarmouth 1 Ipswich Wanderers 4

WANDERERS roared back to winning ways in no uncertain manner.

Beaten 7-1 at Gorleston last Tuesday they proved far too good for Great Yarmouth.

The Ipswich-based side welcomed back last season's leading goal scorer Aren Howell who returned in midweek from Clacton – they also gave a starting role to Daniel George.

Wanderers made a dream start when they took the lead after one minute through a rasping curling drive from Baker.

They came close to adding a second after eight minutes when Goldfinch shot just over. Yarmouth were struggling to create chances.

After a long spell of midfield dominance Wanderers doubled the lead ten minutes before the interval when an incisive pass from Hetherington found Howell and he cut inside the Yarmouth box before coolly slotting home at the keeper's near post.

A minute later Wanderers extended their lead when from a Hetherington corner captain Sean Bell glanced his header past Banham.

Little had been seen of the Yarmouth attack and just before the interval home keeper Banham produced an excellent save to deny Baker's header.

Yarmouth in an attempt to pull back the game introduced substitutes George and Brown at half time and they made a positive start with the best chance falling to Humphries, which flew just over the bar.

With 15 minutes left Yarmouth struck the cross bar through a Parfitt free-kick and from the rebound Pierpoint headed just over.

Wanderers responded by scoring their fourth goal after 76 minutes,. A cross ball from George eluded Banham and though Hetherington's header hit the post Bickers fired home the rebound.

Yarmouth pulled a late goal back through Adcock when he weaved through the Wanderers' defence but the visitors held on for all three points.

In his first season in charge manager Graham Bickers will be pleased with the character shown to bounce back in this manner.

And the decision of Howell to return to the fold is a definite plus.

Dereham Town 1 Bury Town 2

BURY had an early scare when Trafford crashed a drive against the post and Parr ballooned the rebound high over the bar. In a prompt reply, Eady headed against Dereham's crossbar.

Strong running by the Dereham strikers posed several problems for the visiting defence but their profligacy in front of goal left them with no reward.

After 38 minutes, Bury broke the stalemate. Skipper Eady, so dominant in defence throughout, played the ball out to Stringfellow whose inch-perfect cross into the six-yard box found the youthful Sim well placed to nudge the ball past a hesitant Lawrence.

Conditions deteriorated rapidly after the break and the option of a passing game on an increasingly greasy surface soon disappeared in the gathering gloom.

Bury had to dig deep to protect their slender lead but Parr eventually got his sights aligned and slid home the equaliser past Bugg with 19 minutes remaining.

With a draw looking the likely outcome, the influence of Stringfellow, returning to the squad after a lengthy absence, proved decisive for Bury.

Tatham appeared to be brought down inside the box in the closing minutes and amid strong home protests the dependable Stringfellow coolly drove the ball home from the spot.

Lowestoft 1 Clacton Town 2

LOWESTOFT'S nine-match winning streak was brought to an end as a last-minute disputed penalty gave Clacton the points at Crown Meadow.

Clacton's Waters was chasing a through ball but was brought down by Blues keeper Hitcham on the edge of the area. After sending off the keeper the referee awarded the visitors a penalty which Sean Hillier hit high past substitute keeper Houston.

Earlier a dour game that matched the dreary weather was enlivened by two goals in four minutes late in the first half. Firstly in the 33rd minute Hitcham lost his footing coming for a right-wing cross which allowed Paul Hillier a free header into an empty net to put Clacton ahead.

Lowestoft had levelled the scores though within four minutes as Stokeld released Durrant down the left flank and his low cross was steered into the net by Head.

The second half did produce a bit more incident with Gould saving well from King and Cattermole clearing off the line after McGee had rounded the keeper and seemed destined to score. McLean went close for Clacton with a fierce drive from the corner of the area which slammed into the side netting.

Ely City 3 Harwich & Parkeston 2

NEWLY-appointed Harwich and Parkeston manager Steve McGavin might well have realised the enormity of his task after his side tumbled to a 3-2 defeat at fellow strugglers Ely City.

This result means that Harwich are now four points adrift at the bottom of the table and will require an immediate injection of good fortune to improve their plight. Harwich were forced to field a defence that lacked the experience of the unavailable Lee Neale and the pace of the injured Kevin Mann and their defensive frailties were frequently exposed by a livewire Ely front line.

Harwich got off to a good start with a goal from Michael Brothers, but were rocked on their heels when their hosts replied with two goals scored in the space of a minute by Andy Moye and Gareth Lippiatt respectively.

Harwich equalised when Brothers struck again and then went on to miss a host of scoring chances, the best of which came from Gareth Heath who slammed the ball against the Ely post after having beaten the keeper. Ely rode their luck for a while but finally secured all three points with an opportunist goal from Matt Eden.

Soham Town Rangers 1 Tiptree United 1

TIPTREE travelled back to Essex with a hard-earned point from a rain-soaked Soham and will surely be quite satisfied with that outcome seeing as they still have a long absentees list.

Although they opened much the brighter of the two sides in extremely difficult conditions, it was Soham who finished much the stronger dominating long spells of the second half.

However, the opening 20 minutes belonged to the visitors and after Andy Tudor and David Barefield had both gone close they finally opened the scoring on 18 minutes. Ben Webster in Soham's goal picked up a deliberate back-pass and from the resulting free-kick Mark Farmer's drive was deflected in via Phil Battell and a defender on the goal-line. But just as soon as they had their noses in front Tiptree went off the boil as Soham looked for an immediate reply.

In fact, they only had to wait seven minutes before Mark Atkins broke down the right wing before sending in a deep cross from the by-line that Steve Bugg had no difficulty in heading in from close range.

Further pressure from the hosts gave them no reward despite battering the Tiptree goal for most of the second half with a series of corners and free-kicks in dangerous positions.

However, these were all well dealt with by the Tiptree defence and indeed on the break Farmer and Tudor would have put Tiptree back into the lead if Webster had not been alert.

Maldon Town 3 Histon Reserves 2

DESPITE the continuous downpour throughout the match between the much-fancied Maldon and high-flying Histon it lived up to all expectations with the home side just having the better of a five-goal thriller.

First blood almost went to Maldon in the early stages, Nicky Smith's accurate cross going begging, but in the 11th minute Scott Witney crossed from the left leaving Terry Warwick to stub the ball home from close range.

Looking to get on top with their slick passing Maldon might have gone still further ahead but for the in-form Histon keeper Lee Huyler who cut out many a cross, ending Maldon's attacks.

Histon appeared to be content to use the long ball, rarely troubling a home defence in which Neil Shade was in great form, helping his fellow defenders to keep Histon at bay. For a short period the conditions got the better of the teams but play began to match the dull conditions proving for a time to be very negative.

Things livened up towards the end of the half and Maldon custodian Neil Stanbridge saved the day for his side, going down to stop an effort from Peter Leath on his line.

In the early stages of the second half Maldon made most of the running but it was Histon who came right back into the game, equalising through a 64th-minute goal from Leath.

Huyler brought off two good saves in quick succession from Prudence to deny Maldon's efforts to retake the lead. In fact the honours went to Histon with a lucky goal. Leath's header rolled down the back of central defender Goodacre to give them a 79th-minute lead. Within a minute Maldon hit back to be on terms, Warwick grabbing his second goal of the match with a shot on the volley to convert Smith's free-kick.

Five minutes later Dave Streetley rose to meet a cross from Prudence to head Maldon back into the lead to secure the points with his first goal for the club.

AFC Sudbury 4 Wisbech 1

WITH three of their Jewson rivals losing on Saturday, AFC Sudbury moved back into second place following their convincing win against Wisbech which extended their unbeaten record in the league to 12 matches.

Despite finding themselves a goal down after 16 minutes, they came back to equalise and then three second-half goals without reply earned them the three points.

Wisbech keeper Pledger saved an early shot from Rayner and then Hill blocked a goalbound effort from Bennett before Wisbech went ahead.

Nower blocked a shot at close range from Furnell and from the corner Furnell got in another shot that Nower parried but Jimson seized on the loose ball to score from close range.

Petty almost made it two, shooting inches past the foot of the post before AFC equalised, Betson and Bennett exchanging passes with Claydon turning on Bennett's final ball to turn and beat Pledger with a well-struck shot.

Claydon, a constant threat, was then brought down by Hill but Pledger pulled off a magnificent full-length save to keep out Spearings' penalty kick.

The second half belonged to the home team who went ahead on the hour. Mace headed Bennett's cross off the line but when Betson played the ball back in Bishop rose above the defence to head powerfully home.

Three minutes later came the goal of the game when Claydon surged forward from the centre circle, shrugged off two defenders and then placed a perfect shot wide of Pledger.

Flanz and Furnell both went close to reducing the deficit before Norfolk wrapped the game up, cleverly lobbing the ball over Pledger after good work by Banya.

JEWSON LEAGUE DIVISION ONE

Whitton 2 Cornard 2

WHAT a day for Cornard keeper Darren Moyes, three great penalty saves and looking forward to three points and a hot shower when a goal in the last seconds gave Whitton a more-than-deserved share of the points.

Cornard, kicking down the slope in heavy rain, bossed the early play and took an 18th-minute lead when Evason drove in a fierce shot from 25 yards.

Whitton took a long time to settle but surprisingly Cornard dropped back and allowed the home side to put pressure on before the break.

Tournay-Godfrey equalised three minutes after half-time as Whitton pushed forward but Bethall, on the break from what looked in an offside position, coolly went round keeper Holden to put Cornard back in front.

Dominating midfield and with Hurd's darting runs and the power of Swann up front Whitton again pushed Cornard back and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a 65th-minute penalty when Hurd was sent tumbling after a long run.

In an amazing spell Moyes made a tremendous save from Layton's spot-kick and then two minutes later when Grimwood was also felled on route to goal Moyes made another penalty save from Francis. Cornard, with the experience of McLean, Featherstone and Ashby in front of a commanding Moyes, looked to have survived more Whitton pressure until Grimwood was tripped in the penalty area with five minutes left. This time the Whitton bench were again left holding their heads when Moyes stopped the penalty from Tournay-Godfrey.

In injury time Francis tried his luck with a low shot from 35 yards that skidded through a packed Cornard defence and the ball nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

Felixstowe & Walton 1 Long Melford 3

LONG Melford took another step towards their ambition of promotion to the Premier Division at the first attempt with a thoroughly professional performance at Dellwood Avenue on Saturday.

The home side enjoyed long spells of quality possession but the absence of a cutting edge and careless defending culminated in a seventh consecutive defeat for the Seasiders.

The villagers took the lead after only three minutes when their first attack was halted by a trip on Judd and Tony French made no mistake from the penalty spot. On 15 minutes the lead was doubled as Stratton turned defence into attack, releasing French with a long ball down the left. The imposing French was able to run on unchallenged curling the ball past the advancing Charters for his second goal of the game.

There was no faulting Felixstowe's commitment with Fuller, Etti and Thurketle carving out half-chances, but all were comfortably handled by the experienced Haygreen in the visitors' goal.

The destiny of the points was confirmed just after the half-hour when Stratton ghosted in behind a static Seasider defence to head over the stranded Charters.

Hopes of a dramatic second-half fight-back were kindled when Etti headed home from Fuller's accurate cross within two minutes of the restart but Pratt, marshalling the visitors' back line, ensured that Haygreen was little troubled despite the determination of the Felixstowe & Walton side.

Needham Market 2 Halstead 3

THE crowd were kept entertained throughout the full 90 minutes as there was a goal scored in the first and the last minutes of this entertaining fixture.

Needham made a dream start when Lee Briggs slotted home Robbie Hill's pass under the advancing Pentney in the Halstead goal. Soon afterwards Karl Sandilands put in a superb cross low and with pace that just eluded Briggs and Marc Wake as they closed in on goal. The Needham lead was then doubled by Danny Hart, who side footed home after a goalmouth melee had seen the ball finish up in line for him to shoot home. Both sides had further attacks as this game went from one end to the other. Needham had certainly been the better side in the first half as Halstead's play was littered with errors.

But after the break the visitors started to come back into the match and a couple of substitutes were introduced and the formation altered to give Needham more pressure to deal with. But both sides again had half chances in the opening quarter of an hour of the half.

Then Halstead upped the tempo as Needham tired and the last eight minutes were to be a nightmare for Needham's defence as the visitors really took the initiative and scored three goals to win the match. Firstly Owers moved onto a half clearance and shot through a gap and under Kevin Holland. Then with three minutes remaining Chinnery got the equaliser with a shot on the turn from a long throw in.

Halstead then threw everything at Needham's beleaguered back line and in injury time Kendall got the final touch to a cross to steer it clear of Holland to the delight of his teammates.

Somersham 1 Hadleigh 1

A WET day in the Fens meant only a small crowd, most of them from Hadleigh, watched this game.

But there was plenty of entertainment with both goalkeepers, Gibbs and Donovan, being kept busy. Donovan made a great save from Green in the first minute and then Hadleigh took the lead midway through the opening period.

Dennett tried his luck from near the left-hand touchline and the ball flew over the stranded Gibbs and dropped perfectly inside the far post. The Cambridgeshire side drew level on the stroke of half-time when a left-wing corner from Cooke was glanced into the net by Marsden.

Gibbs made a point-blank save from Welton in the 57th minute before Hadleigh ended the game strongly. Several times the ball flew agonisingly across the face of the Somersham goal with no Hadleigh player able to get the vital touch.

Arnold headed just wide before Gibbs twice made diving saves in the final minutes to keep Hadleigh at bay.

LEISTON'S indifferent season continues with the news first-team manager Dale Threadkell has resigned. Although results had not been good and with Dale not being helped by a squad decimated by injury, his resignation was still a shock at Victory Road.

Press officer David Rees said: "The club would like to thank Dale for all his efforts and hard work during difficult circumstances. We appreciate the problems he has had and reluctantly accept his resignation as first team manager but are pleased that he wishes to remain with the club."

Dale's departure comes seven days after chairman Barry Spall resigned from his post. Following Dale's departure, Stephen Wright has taken over temporary control of first-team matters. Anyone who feels they could offer vast experience to a very ambitious Jewson League club should contact Leiston chairman Andy Crisp on 01728 832938 or 01728 833913 after 6pm.

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